In September, GTECH Corp., the Providence-based gaming subsidiary of Rome’s Lottomatica Group SpA, launched the Lottery Developer Network, a game-development program it thinks might be the next big thing in the industry.
The Lottery Developer Network is a development and testing environment that connects approved game developers with the resources to design, code and construct interactive lottery games. Traditionally, casual and social game developers – such as those who create popular Facebook games such as “Farmville” or “Words With Friends” – were unable to easily transfer their work to the lottery industry due to regulatory issues on the state level.
The lottery network provides developers with documentation, design templates, user forums and application-programming interfaces – in short, everything they could need to create a digital lottery game without having to go through each state’s regulations and redesign their game in order to sell it to more than one lottery. The network is the first system that provides game developers with this opportunity.
“Getting vetted to do lottery or casino games is a big deal,” said Rick Perrone, president of Stamford, Conn.-based Tournament One Corp., one of the members of the network. “[GTECH] is offering a huge amount of standardization and organization and continuity.” Tournament One has about 40 employees split between its Stamford and Las Vegas offices.
The company, which has a seven-year history with GTECH, is one of the two current members of the network, the other being the Canadian firm Telos Entertainment Inc.
Jon Leach, vice president of business development for Telos Entertainment, said the developer network represents a growth opportunity for all technology companies, game developers and players. “We see nothing but growth from the younger audience – 18- to 25-year-old players – who normally wouldn’t purchase scratch tickets but would play games digitally,” Leach said.
GTECH has received more than 35 total applications to join the network. Approval is pending for 13 of the applicants.
“Casual game developers are looking for this today because they’re looking for ways to monetize their assets,” said Tom Napolitano, GTECH’s senior manager of innovation and one of the heads of the lottery-developer network program. The network functions under a full revenue-share model in which developers get a percentage of whatever sales their game generates. “If their game does well, they do well,” said Napolitano.